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Head of School Blog

Community Engagement

By December 26, 2023December 27th, 2023No Comments

Participating in community engagement is a rare and enriching opportunity for middle school students, and that’s exactly what our students experienced when they hosted visitors from Bridges by Epoch, a memory-assisted living facility in Andover. This special occasion saw our students stepping into the role of hosts at ASM, offering them a chance to contribute to the community and, more importantly, to embrace the perspective of others and their life stories.

While many of our students have grandparents, interacting with individuals experiencing memory loss or dementia provided a new layer of understanding. The students organized crafts and games, shared quiet moments coloring, and listened to the seniors reminisce about their lives. One veteran shared captivating stories of his time at Fort Bragg and his service with the 82nd Airborne, recounting his parachuting adventures. Our questions sparked his enthusiasm, illuminating the vivid memories he was eager to share.

This event was filled with meaningful interactions, such as the exchange with a former anatomy and physiology professor who, while playing bingo, was inspired to share her knowledge. An artistic connection was made too, when students discovered that one of the visitors was an artist like themselves.

During the visit, a few of our Lower and Upper Elementary students showcased their talents with musical performances, including a rendition of “Jingle Bells,” a piano performance of J.S. Bach’s “Inventio 4” and a couple of violin pieces. As the visit concluded, the Upper Elementary students presented the visitors with handmade cards.

After our visitors left, the students reflected on their experience, sharing the following thoughts:

“I felt grateful to be around [our visitors] because they taught me the value of life and how appreciative I should be of my youth and the opportunities I still have in life. I can apply patience all throughout my life in different situations: waiting for important results, waiting for a promotion at work, or even something as petty as waiting for my music to load if there is no Internet. In conclusion, I think this experience was able to positively affect my character development.” Sarah Del Valle, 8th year

“In this amazing experience, I got to learn and experience so many new things with older people and learn how they view the world. It felt really nice to have the opportunity to work with these kind and sweet people!” Karina Lui, 7th year

“[She] made me realize that despite our different ages we all share common interests such as coloring that we can bond over. This experience taught me a lot of lessons that can be applied to my own life. [It] taught me how to communicate with new people and make them feel comfortable to speak with me. Overall, I really enjoyed this experience because I got to meet some wonderful people and learn skills that will help me in my daily life.” Sreekar Inturi, 8th year

This experience highlights the value of engaging with people in different stages of life and the profound impact compassion and genuine interaction can have. It was a true embodiment of Maria Montessori’s vision of acceptance and learning from one another. At ASM, we take pride in offering such formative experiences to our students.